Dáil Éireann - Volume 370 - 09 December, 1986
Written Answers. - EC Checks on Sellafield Plant.
Mr. Keating Mr. Keating
65. Mr. Keating asked the Minister for Energy his views on the adequacies of recently announced EC checks on the Sellafield plant which have significant effects for this country and which apparently relate to auditing plutonium quantities and do not involve monitoring or regulating safety standards in the actual operations of the plant; and whether such proposals fall far short of the Irish Government's inspectorate.
Minister for Energy (Mr. Spring) Dick Spring
Minister for Energy (Mr. Spring): The EC checks on the Sellafield plant, to which the Deputy refers, are provided for under Chapter VII (Safeguards) of the Euratom Treaty. Chapter VII enables inspection of nuclear material intended for civil purposes to ensure that it is not diverted for military purposes. Euratom safeguards apply to installations handling civil nuclear material. While in the past Euratom inspectors have always had access to civil areas at the Sellafield site, this was not the case for the mixed  areas dealing with both military and civil materials. In June 1986 the EC Commission announced that agreement was reached between them and the United Kingdom Government to enable Euratom inspectors to check all the civil nuclear material in these mixed areas at Sellafield. The Minister for Energy has no function in relation to the inspection system under Chapter VII of Euratom. Such provisions are different from Chapter III of Euratom which deals with health and safety. The purpose of the health and safety inspectorate which the Government wishes to have established under Chapter III is to ascertain whether nuclear installations such as Sellafield can be operated safely. In the circumstances it is meaningless to imply that the existing Euratom inspection provisions under Chapter VII fall short of what the Government is currently seeking under Chapter III.
Dáil Éireann 370 Written Answers. EC Checks on Sellafield Plant.